In a charming memoir with as much turmoil as a rough sea, Lewis recounts her attempt to morph from a "messy depressive, often overwhelmed by my own emotions" to someone "unbowed by internal or external storms." After emerging from a year of clinical depression, Lewis, a Welsh poet, visited a tarot card reader, who told her she wasn't living life "to the full," and advised her, "you should buy a boat." In less than a month, Lewis, in her 40s, and her husband, 23 years her senior and formerly in the merchant navy, bought a boat and prepared to leave their home and jobs in Cardiff (a port on the Bristol Channel) to embark on a lengthy voyage. Excited by the idea of a change in scenery, the two set off for Brazil. The trip, naturally, wasn't easy: debilitating seasickness, engine problems, unscrupulous mechanics, a resurgence of Lewis's depression, not-so-scenic ports of call and extreme weather conditions were all exacerbated by their deteriorating relationship. Lewis leans on allegory, which can wear thin, but her poetic talent shines through with lines like "Cold air French kisses the warm, which loses its identity for it." Photos., illus. (Apr. 1) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Told by a fortune-teller that she should buy a boat, Welsh poet Lewis and her husband found themselves planning a yacht voyage from Wales to Brazil. But neither Lewis nor her husband had sailed before, and from the start the voyage was plagued by problems: a malfunctioning autohelm, blinding fog, Lewis's debilitating seasickness and depression, and her husband's growing rage. The couple crept down the coast of France and Portugal, spending months in filthy harbors while their engine was expensively and incompetently repaired. After nearly a year, they arrived in Ceuta, Morocco, with an Atlantic crossing out of the question after Lewis's husband was diagnosed with cancer. In this affecting memoir, Lewis questions many of her assumptions and reflects on the struggle at sea, both with her marriage and with the voyage, but also records her satisfaction in learning to scuba-dive, handling the boat and its navigation, and gleaning knowledge from other sailors. A painful journey; one hopes that Lewis has found a new fortune-teller. Recommended.-Melissa Stearns, Franklin Pierce Coll. Lib., Rindge, NH Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
The National Poet of Wales, well again after drink and depression, takes a voyage of personal discovery. It isn't quite as idyllic as the familiar journey of the Owl and the Pussycat. Husband Leighton, an experienced mariner, was skipper. Sailing alone with a lover can precipitate a vortex of emotion beyond the usual maelstrom of physical difficulties. The pair were bound for South America on their 35-footer, the good boat Jameeleh. Not long out of Cardiff, they experienced equipment failure and recurrent engine trouble-there was also crying, fighting and vomiting. It was wonderful! There were lessons to be learned about boat-handling, lighthouses, inclement weather, knots, splices and such-all useful as metaphors. "A marriage, after all, is very like a boat," the author reminds us. Hugging the Iberian shore, the couple found smooth sailing for a bit, then endured a longish spell in a Portuguese port in a storm. The captain raged while his mate dreamt of Horatio Hornblower. The author maintained a log that includes data about lighthouses, scuba diving, Gibraltar, coal-shipping and Nelson at Trafalgar. Ahoy, young lubbers: Read and learn. Old maritime manuals are quoted, and the text is filled with pictures, mostly quaint. For good reason, the couple never made it across the Atlantic, but their marriage survived some serious weather..